The thuggish nature of this president and his far-Left supporters was on display during his health care speech last night, when he threatened those who would dare expose the shortcomings of socialism. Obama blustered, “I won’t stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are. If you misrepresent what’s in this plan, we will call you out.” As I noted, here and at FrontPage, his speech recycled a series of false assertions, while tongue-lashing those who had the temerity to point them out. Name the one country with socialized medicine that does not employ rationing or deny services to its citizens, Mr. President.
President Bush was widely — and falsely — accused of bullying his opponents into silence. This was leftists’ excuse for their political cowardice in voting for a war they did not support, then abandoning the troops fighting it at the earliest possible opportunity. (In reality, as David Horowitz and I point out in Party of Defeat, Bush allowed himself to be assaulted with endless false charges without a response, which destroyed his public image and circumscribed his political movement.) Imagine if Bush had used this verbiage, pledging not that he would “vigorously defend the truth” or “passionately debate the issues,” but that he would “call out” his opponents. This is one of many temperamental differences between Bush and his successor. (They share other similarities: they both let Ted Kennedy guide their landmark legislation.)
Obama’s language did not change Republican minds, one of his stated goals. When courting bipartisan support, it is best not to threaten to lay the smack down on the other party. But winning over Republicans — beyond Sen. Olympia Snowe and perhaps two others — was not his point: it was to crush dissent and intimidate opposition. This comes from the same president who declared: “I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.”
Given the tissue of lies and illogical conclusions that constituted his speech, the last thing Obama would want anyone to do is talk about it.